Despite the Rangers holding a five-game lead over the Mariners in the AL West, I think these are two pretty evenly matched teams, which makes for great baseball when they get together, as they did over the weekend. This game was from Saturday night, when the Mariners carried a 1-0 lead into the ninth. Prince Fielder, who is having a horrible year this year — batting .202 with a .592 OPS in 2016 after hitting .305 with an .841 OPS a year ago — came to the plate with two outs and two strikes in the ninth, before hammering this game-tying home run, his fifth. Two innings, later, Rougned Odor delivered the dagger, as he’s been known to do, by hitting the game-winning homer on a dick-high fastball, and he knew he got all of it.
For a guy who most casual baseball fans had never even heard of before he punched Jose Bautista in the face, his 10 home runs put him in a three-way tie for the most home runs on the Rangers, who are proud owners of the best record in the American League. Now, does the fact that they have the best record in the American League make them the best team in the American League? I’d argue against that. They’re 9-1 against the lowly Houston Astros, when the Orioles, Red Sox, and Blue Jays aren’t afforded the same opportunity to beat up on some of the teams that get fed to the Rangers. The best team in the American League will be whoever comes out on top of the American League East. But make no mistake about it, the Rangers will be in the conversation.